June 17th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama defends Clinton at Michigan rally

Gore endorsed Obama Monday night in Michigan.

Gore endorsed Obama Monday night in Michigan.

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - Barack Obama defended Hillary Clinton at a Michigan unity rally Monday night that featured former Vice President Al Gore - and some off-message audience booing at the mention of the New York senator's name.

After joking about the extended Democratic primary season – “I was planning to run for the '08 election, not the 2012 election!" – Obama responded to some vocal Clinton critics in the crowd, who had reacted to praise for the senator from both the presumptive Democratic nominee and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a longtime Clinton supporter.

"I want everybody here to be absolutely clear - I want everybody here to be absolutely clear - Senator Clinton is one of the finest public servants we have in American life today," said Obama, noting her work on behalf of children's rights and universal health care.

"She has been on the right side of just about every battle that we have fought - she has, in her own words, shattered a glass ceiling into 18 million pieces. ….She is worthy of our respect, she is worthy of our honor.

“…And she's tough! That's why this race took so long. She's a fighter and we need fighters in the Democratic Party. Because we've got a lot to fight for. There's a lot worth fighting for.”

Gore, who remained neutral throughout the primary season, made his first campaign appearance for Obama at the Detroit rally. "Take it from me, elections matter," said the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee. "After the last eight years, even our dogs and cats have learned that elections matter."

He compared Republican criticism that Obama is unexperienced and naïve to Nixon's attacks on John Kennedy in 1960. "I know what [Kennedy's] inspiration meant to my generation, and I feel that same spirit in this auditorium here tonight, building all over this country this year," said Gore.

Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Popular Posts
soundoff (412 Responses)
  1. george

    Part of my resistence to Obama is his followers, the 'Obamobots'. They are not interested in dialogue, they are not enlightened. They shout others down, post horrific statements and images and believe that they are on the side of a just and worthy cause. Fascists were known for doing the same thing, control the media and elliminate any voice not singing the same song. For Obama to call them out is rare, he has never chastized his disciples no matter how rude and un-democratic their actions. Now that he has the nomination he can afford to be magnanimous, in fact it behooves him to do so as he needs Clinton supporters to win the election. The national media has not reported enough on Rezko/Auchi. Nor have they really explained to the American people what Nation of Islam stands for. Americans are in the dark, they see the beatifully crafted images of Obama bathed in celestial light, listen to speeches (written by speech writers) in that deep melodious voice, promising Change and freedom from corruption, and yet, he appointed Johnson, took money from Rezko/Auchi and partook in gender bashing. I don't dislike the message, I distrust the messanger.

    June 17, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Jason

    I am extremely disappointed in the intelligence of the citizens of this country. First, they vote in a complete moron to office TWICE. Now, I am hearing that feelings of revenge will decide their vote for a third term for this moron's policies. Only when votes are cast based on actual policy platforms will the right decision finally be made. Not votes cast based on the likeability of the candidate, skin color of the candidate, religion of the candidate, and the multitude of other reasons that someone can come up with. The next four years are critical. Without dramatic policy change, this country will see dark times. Think before you vote.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Claude

    Barack's comment that she is one of our finest public servants points out his ignorance of Hillary's absolute lack of any credible accomplishments in Congress. Hillary has nothing of note to point to in accomplishments for NYstate until recently...where she was noted to have THE largest amount of pork earmarks of any senator. Business as usual my friends, er sorry, Politics as usual.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Independent Fred

    This mindless bickering is the very reason I left both Republican & Democratic parties.

    Obama Supporters: You need to relax you Need Clinton's suppoters period.

    Clinton supporters: You need to relax as well you keep spoutting 2012. Remember if Obama looses you'll need his supporters in 4 years.

    Both sides better grow up as It could easily end up McCain 2008 through 2016. While I Don't agree with all his views I'm giving him a serious look.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. ALZ

    I was at this rally, and the cheers when Obama praised Clinton were much louder than the initial boos. Most Obama supporters are smart enough to realize that the "us vs. them" mentality that became so prevalent during the primary is unproductive and even disrespectful. Those who support Democratic values need to come together and Obama is working to make it happen

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Dave

    I appreciate the praise and respect Senator Obama has given to Hillary. She is worthy.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. ly2

    I'm really tired of hearing people talk about not being "turned on" and how they will stay at home this november. First of all, that means you're not excercising your duty as an American citizen (which so many fought for and are still fighting for ). Second, if you want another 4 years of the rich-poor gap to widen to a point where only a select few can truly live the American dream, another 4 years of a war that we were misled on to believing it was for our defense yet it was for a utopian view of creating a democracy in place where we were not welcomed, another 4 years of the American dollar getting its butt kicked against other currency because of failed economic policies, then stay home or go vote for McCain.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Hillary folks who cannot stand Obama: Some of you accuse Obama of lies – What lies? What is in it for you to keep hating? Many of Hillary's supporters have begun to support Obama – the ones who want a better deal for America.

    Obama did not steal the nomination. Americans voted for him. And you do not know whether Hillary would make a "better" president. She has not had any experience with being the president.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. VR

    Though I am extremely disappointed at Hillary losing the battle, I may still vote for Obama or not vote at all. I can't even think voting for a republican who wants to continue this meaningless and costly war.

    Our nation is destroyed due to this war. Hillary was the only one who had guts to end it in 2009.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. jj

    Sorry, but he only praises Clinton NOW that he has the nomination in order to get people to vote for him. But what a number of people don't understand is, we are free thinkers, we will vote for WHO we think will be able to get us out of this mess and it has to be someone who knows what they are doing. Not someone who only goes from one thing to another and accompolishes nothing. He's been nothing but a politician down to joining his church, he Mentor told him what church to join and how to go about getting elected. He's used tricks and lawyers to get where he is. Not because he has done any good. Just ask the people he is SUPPOSE to represent. I'm an independant and I want experience, not someone who has to get his ideas from someone else, if so, then elect someone else.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Darla, Ridgway PA

    BARB who was at the Obama rally

    Thank for the great commentary. You made some really good points, sometimes i read these blogs and some of the comments are so far out their that truley have trouble sleeping at night knowing there are people out like that. You made my day:)

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Matthew, Houston, TX

    The candidate, Senator Obama, was, as always, gracious. Unfortunately, some of his supporters were not. Blame the candidate, or blame the supporters? I blame the supporters since he has been consistantly gracious throughout the primaries (and beyond!) in both victory and defeat.

    Just realize that it has been the same with the Hillary supporters except for one difference . . . one VERY BIG difference; Senator Clinton has never been as gracious as Senator Obama. NOT ONCE did I hear did Senator Clinton congratulate Senator Obama on a single primary win or give him credit for a good campaign when she won. Obama disrespected CLinton? I think not, it was quite the other way around.

    Nasty, vile hateful things have been said by supporters from both sides and that is reprehensible. Obama supporters that continue this, grow up. Clinton supporters who continue this, get over it and grow up. We have bigger problems than being petty, uneducated, miserable adults (get it? PUMA?) acting like children in a schoolyard.

    June 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |

    First and most important, Obama is a fake, have you noticed that both of his largest endorsements have been in Michigan? Why do you think this is....most likely becuase he wanted nothing to do with Michigan before his nomination. I know they were not allowed to campaign in the state but he was never on the side of the Michigan people when it came to count our votes. Also don't be fooled by reports that say "his name wasn't even on the ballot" he TOOK HIS NAME OFF OF THE BALLOT HIMSELF!!! Big difference. McCain leads in this state and for good reason. I was a Clinton supporter and it is going to take something more than an endorsement from Al Gore to get me over to Obamas side. Furthermore if Obama thinks he can win the election without winning Ohio or Florida he is mistaken, I think he should ask his endorser how that worked out for him! Just another rookie mistake, one I fear is not the last. For now though i'm in the middle let the games begin

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Larry

    I'm a Obama supporter till then end, but if we want to win we MUST show Clinton Supporters our respect and reach out to them rather than trying to tear them down. Don't be sore winners!

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Merry

    Stay focus on what really matters for the betterment of all.
    looking at the differences between Hillary and Obama instead of looking at thier similiraties and the vision that they share is the act of fool. distraction and not healthy.
    Proud of Obama and Clinton for being so great.

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Diane

    I keep reading how the Clinton supporters won't vote for Obama because his supporters are so hateful to her. How CHILDISH can you get??????????? Are we voting for supporters or the candidate? I don't know about you, but I'm voting for the candidate. And for the record–you are the pot calling the kettle balck. Have you actually read what Clinton supporters have written aabout Obama with an objective–not biased– mind. I think you will see that the name calling is about even. No wonder our kids don't know right from wrong anymore–look at their elders.

    CNN–do you think for once you could let one of my numerous blogs go through and not wait moderation?

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. ek

    It is seriously scary about how hateful, racist and completely misinformed some of the bloggers are who comment on these candidates. The point is that we should be focusing on the issues, not the color of one candidates skin or the age or sex of the other.

    Die hard Hilary fans, stop your whining. She and her husband were much more destructive to Obama during the primary than the other way around. He ran a smarter campaign and, in the end, won because of it.

    I'm voting for Obama because I believe he has the potential to inspire great things in people as well as this country. But, if you don't like Obama, for whatever reason, then either vote for McCain or don't vote at all. But stop with the slander and lies. Constantly saying that he's a muslim or a woman hater won't suddenly make him one. It just makes the bloggers writing these things look like a real idiot.

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. lindacisme

    I can't wait to see this boy go down in November, and take the DNC with him. Every time one of the Obamabots boo HRC, another woman vows NOT TO VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    His "supporters" have helped sink him all along – showing so much contempt and anger toward an experienced fine leader in Hillary during the primary campaign.

    Now that the media and DNC have given the nomination to the Chosen One, they want our vote.

    Sorry – too little, too late; we remember. Adios BHO.

    June 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. smokey

    Not all Canada applauds BO....he is too young and inexperienced to lead the USA at this time. I understand the enthusiasm of so many young people but the world really needed the experience and abilities of HC.

    I find it incredibile that so many Americans seem to have so much hate for the Clintons when their administration accomplished so much. It is particularly galling to see 90% plus of African Americans rejecting the Clintons and many even suggesting the Clintons are racists. This must be so hard for the Clintons to accept after so many years of service.

    Part of this is/was fuelled by media types such as Jack Cafferty who spewed so much hate towards HC. Hopefully BO can surround himself with some outstanding people who will provide counsel and direction because speeches alone, will not cut it.

    Regardless, HC supporters can not make yet another mistake and vote for MCCain....BO is reluctantly the only real choice now.

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. sandyorganic

    I am a 67 year old woman. My Mother talked to me about how women didn't have the right to vote when she was born and how it felt for her to cast her first vote. For women today to be so angry because Hillary lost the primary nomination is silly and destructive. A woman will become President someday if woman today do not become embittered and vengeful. Don't become what "they" expect you to become. To turn to McCain, who stands against what every Democratic woman is for, is to prove we're aren't ready for Primetime.
    Sandy Powers

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Alice

    Obama has ALWAYS praised Senator Clinton. ALWAYS. Despite the her lack of reciprocity.

    Those of you who would hold him responsible for overzealous supporters at his rally and/or overzealous posts on this board are downright silly. Every group (including yours) has its zealots. The important thing is that Obama handles them with dignity and grace.

    Those of you who are indignant, how would you propose he respond when folks boo Clinton at a rally? My guess is, exactly the way he did.

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Another female Obama supporter

    Haven't you new female McCain supporters realized that he is just dying to repeal the Roe vs. Wade ruling? Do you females want to destroy your reproductive rights just because your favorite candidate lost the primary? Please know that McCain is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Beware!

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Ilene

    I was there. She was booed when he talked about her and frankly as much as I love Obama this is where I see the lying part of the politician come out. The Rebublicans are using all the hate and lies Hillary brought out and now using it against him. Those of us who HATE Hillary hate her because she is a power hungry liar. We want honestly in the White House and Obama really disapointed me by speaking out in favor of her. That makes me step back and realize he is a politicain. He was my savior.

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. ohio voter

    Thanks Senator Obama for standing up for Senator Clinton yesterday in MICHIGAN.. I still have some serious problems with the DNC leaders and believe that they are useless. Pelosi, Reid, Dean, Kerry, Richardson, Dodd, and Brazile should be on the campaign trail for you 24/7. They "broke" it, I hope they can "fix" it...By the way, Congratulations on the Gore endorsement!! and also the Emmy for "Yes We Can"..Stay focused...

    A Hillary Supporter

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Swing Voter in Virginia

    All these so-called Hillary people who claim they will vote for McCain make me laugh. You know I get irritated when the news media breaks down voters by demographics...BUT I must say it MUST be true that Hillary Clinton voters are not smart (uneducated).
    I say this because if you are REALLY going to support McCAin who do you think that hurts? The Obama's are rich and they will continue to be. Barack will probably get paid more than any other politician to give a speech. But what about you, if McCain gets elected you will continue to be in a bad financial situation that will only get worse.
    I am one of Obama's supporters. I am educated and make over 60K a year. The economy is bad BUT I am not suffering financially (thank God). I have a savings account and the property I own has increased in value. Regardless of who takes office, I am going to be fine, I am a professional. But for the life of me I can not understand why people who are in bad financial situations would want to continue down that road with McCain, simply because their candidate did not win.

    June 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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